We started with smart speakers, then moved to smart screens, not we’re onto smart screens that MOVE, like the all new Amazon Echo Show 10 3rd generation. What’s next, smart speaker screens inside one of those Boston Dynamics robot dogs that can literally creep all over you house? Maybe. In this review, I’ll take you through what’s new on this version of the Echo Show, what it can and can’t do, and whether I think it’s a good investment for your smart home.
Whats new with Amazon Echo Show 10 3rd gen?
While the screen size here is the same as the previous generation; that’s a 10.1 inch high definition screen, in this iteration the screen is now propped on the top corner of a cylindrical speaker base. That allows the speaker to swivel almost 360° and you can tilt the screen for your best view. With built in microphones and cameras, this is meant to make video calls easier.
Swivel base lets you see & be seen
The swiveling action has two purposes; the first is that it allows you to make video calls and move around while always remaining in the frame. The second is that it lets you remotely access the onboard camera so you can use the device as a 360° security camera as well.
What is Amazon Echo?
For those who might be new or who need a quick primer, an Amazon Echo device is a smart speaker with a built-in digital assistant named Alexa. This virtual digital assistant can help you run your smart home by answering questions, setting timers and alarms, play new news weather traffic and sports updates, and controlling your smart gadgets like lighting, thermostats, locks, TVs, and a lot more. The Echo Show 10 3rd generation also has a built in Zigbee smart home hub which means you can get things like smart light bulbs, and not need to buy the extra hub or bridge these normally require.
Video calling on new Amazon Echo Show 10 3rd gen
As one of the two key features that’s seen innovation, the video calling on the Amazon Echo Show 10 is designed to be more seamless. The camera will track your face as you move around the room, meaning you’re always in frame of the person on the other end, but you’ll also be able to constantly see the screen too. The video calling system works when making calls to other Echo devices with screens and cameras, or anyone with the Alexa App on their smartphone or tablet.
Video calling on Echo Show 10: Skype, Chime, Zoom
You can also use Skype, Amazon’s Chime platform, and soon, Zoom. The 13MP camera uses auto-framing, plus pan and zoom to make sure you stay centered.
I’m actually really into the idea that I could set up the Show 10 on my desk to manage my Skype or Zoom video calls for work, while I keep using my laptop for other work things.
Making a call with Alexa on Echo Show 10
To make a video call with Alexa, ask Alexa to call a contact or open the Alexa app on your phone and click Communicate to see which devices you can call.
I tried the camera tracking during video calls and it works great. It’s nice that you stay in frame and you can always see the screen
Face tracking: Echo Show 10 follows you
One last point on the face tracking… the Echo Show 10 will follow you around the room even if you’re not making a call so that the screen is always in view, and particularly if you’re talking to Alexa as you move, the screen responds to your location at any given time, which is both a wee bit creepy and very cool.
Live security camera: Amazon Echo Show 10
The other major use for the Show 10 and its swivel base is as a moveable security camera.
The camera will swing from side to side across a nearly 180 degree field of vision. It’s worth noting the camera can’t tilt up or down on its own, and this will cause you some problems in my hands-on experience. If you leave it tilted too far up when you’re watching a video of standing for a call when you go back to use it as a surveillance camera, you’re stuck with that view. Watching the dogs is out…
But the HD video view of the space is really clear and you can see very clearly what’s going on.
In low light, there’s still a pretty good view, and you’ll be able to see what you need to. At night or in full dark you’ve got nothing; a giant black hole, which is a huge problem for me. You can get $20 security cameras with night vision, so the fact the Show 10 doesn’t have it at this price is mind boggling.
No night vision, no video recording on Amazon Echo Show 10: major flaws
This camera does not have night vision, which I think it a major flaw. You can see okay if there’s some light, but if it’s full dark, you’re out of luck.
Another major limitation is that the camera doesn’t record video; it’s strictly for taking a live look.
Privacy shutter keeps you in control of camera
Naturally whenever we talk about introducing a camera into the house, you want to make sure you can also have your privacy. The Echo Show 10 has a privacy shutter for the camera that physically. Blocks the lens and it can’t be opened remotely.
Amazon Echo Show 10: smart home control
The other key used for a Amazon Alexa device is as a smart home control center. The echo show 10 has a built-in home hub so you don’t need extra bridges or pubs around the house to control things like smart lighting. As a home control center, the echo show 10 works extremely well, and I was able to control things like my smart lights, thermostat and call up cameras easily.
Watch TV, videos, movies on Echo Show 10 3rd gen
Another key feature of this device is that it lets you watch TV and videos easily and conveniently on this small screen. With access to Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube through the web, you can watch plenty of content, or even do things like follow along with recipes right from your device.
While the screen is pretty small compared to a television set, it’s actually a decent size for this application, and the HD screen in this size means videos don’t look pixelated or poor quality. You could easily put on some Bosch on Amazon prime TV and enjoy an